TUSCALOOSA — Damien Harris picked a great day for his breakout spring performance.
A former 5-star recruit, Harris has been locked in a battle with fellow sophomore Bo Scarbrough — the early favorite — for Alabama’s starting running back slot.
But Saturday’s MVP performance at A-Day (20 carries for 114 yards) gave Harris a big boost heading into the summer.
There is context to consider. Most importantly: Harris was running against Alabama’s second-team defense, while Scarbrough faced the Crimson Tide’s best players. Scarbrough struggled mightily en route to a nine-carry, 22-yard day.
Those numbers are a complete reversal from the two previous spring scrimmages.
Scarbrough had 21 carries for 243 yards and four touchdowns in those games, while Harris ran 20 times for 92 yards.
Saturday, the latter back broke a 19-yard run on the White squad’s first offensive play, a dash that nearly matched Scarbrough’s total by itself.
“Damien Harris had a really nice day,” coach Nick Saban said after the White squad’s 7-3 win at Bryant-Denny Stadium. “[He] looked quick and explosive and he did a really nice job, and the young quarterbacks did a nice job of making some plays. So, I thought their consistency that they played with was a lot better than the actual first team. It just creates more competition and more things for us to evaluate.”
Linebacker Rashaan Evans, who racked up 17 tackles on the day, praised Harris’ performance afterwards.
“Damien’s made big improvement,” Evans said. “I’m excited for him this season.”